Posting this is not easy for me. It is hard...really heard. It's not really CSA-related - sorry - but it was an incident with my abuser. This poem is based another entry from my journals dating back from 2010. To put it in some kind of context: my mother was in one of her rages over something our maid had done, and we also had an argument about the way my grandmother (her mother) brought her (my mother) up - there was abuse in it...all of it: sexual, physical, emotional. The journal entry was written in bullet points, chronicling the events that took place within the space of a mere half an hour or so. It was typed. I somehow knew I needed to record it. It's stapled onto my journal from that year now. I've tried to put in some kind of prose form here.
My back is facing her as she storms in.
She is in a rage.
"Always taking the easy way out!" she screams at me, my back still facing her.
"You only see what's in front of you!"
The slightest of pauses separate each of her statements.
"Your grandmother gave me a good upbringing."
She then proceeds to bitch about the maid in murderous contempt. "Do you understand? DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!"
I turn around. I see her face. Her eyes are wide open, fixed upon me. Before me was not my mother - it was a demon.
She defends my grandmother again. I did not want to indulge her rationalizations; I apologize to her dismissively and sarcastically, turning my back on her again.
Suddenly, I hear her stomping over.
She raises her arm up high, and before I knew it, she takes a full swing at my face and slaps me hard.
That was the last thread.
Half in disbelief and shock, the other half in anger, I rise up from my chair. I grab both her arms with my hands and pin her against the wall. There was only a fine line, the thinnest of threads, that stopped me from retaliating and hitting her back. I still could not believe what was happening.
Still pinned, my mother shouts something about supporting me with money.
I gather myself, momentarily. I let go of her arms, and step back. The minute I do, she raises her arm again. I defend myself instinctively, raising my own arm to protect my face.
There is a standoff. The air is thick.
Calmly, I ask her to leave.
Somehow, by some stroke of luck...she leaves.
I hear her screaming at the maid, ordering her to leave.
I sit back down on my chair, shaking. I'm scared. I was no longer 22; I was 12. Just like that boy who was hit with a billiard stick, in an unpredictable fit of rage his otherwise seemingly loving mother got into.
She marches back into my room.
She repeats what she said previously. "You only see what's right in front of you. Lousy!"
I stand up, and turn around. Something broke inside me. I march towards her. I scream at her, "FUCK YOU!!! FUCK YOU!!!" I force her out of my room, and push her into the hallway.
She retreats back into her room.
The peace does not last long.
I hear her mumbling in the background. "Not even [my name]
understands my feelings. And dad (my father) only puts on a nice face in front of [my name]."
I feel poisoned with guilt. Elements of anger and guilt have been cruelly and mercilessly mixed into soul, forming a toxic compound for which I have no words to describe.
She comes back into my room.
She orders me to hit her. I refuse.
Slowly, she starts breaking down; I repeat to her that I won't hit her, and then I start breaking down.
"Please...think of it as a mother's love," she insists. She walks over to me and tries to hug me and console me. I try to refuse, but she is adamant on hugging and consoling me. I try to resist, blurting out, "I can't trust you." She retorts: "the world is tough and I'm doing it for before it hurts you; the world is tough."
Silence fills the room. It is the third party, an unwanted guest, an onlooker.
"Mom is OK," she starts. "Did it hurt? You must have been surprised...poor thing. Do you feel...refreshed?"
The mind games have started, and I am powerless. Powerless. I am confused, simply overwhelmed.
"[My name], just do the things you want to do." She pauses, as if in deep thought. I no longer exist - she has begun one of her many monologues. "As long as you live a healthy and happy life..." she continues.
In my short moments of sanity and awareness, I regain my thoughts. Is she saying this, because she sees you typing down everything? This has happened all before after her breakdown in [where I used to live before].*
"I'm going to regret having hit you..." she says.
"I'm not that weak," I reply. But I am. I'm eating up the tears, telling myself to be a man. I slowly become aware that she's already forgotten why she's hit me.
"You have so much potential...you have to protect yourself," she continues. "You have to protect yourself with warm feelings," she states.
I begin to have trouble holding back the tears. I tell her that I need to use the bathroom.
I walk in. I close the doors, and lock it. And I bawl. I bawl. I console myself, the only way I know how: I listen to music in my head.
I come out after 5 minutes. I see her sitting on my bed.
"You're trying so hard to hide your true feelings..." she observes. She is astute, and dangerous. "You're really hurt, aren't you?" There is no compassion in her facial expressions, or her tone of voice. Her tone of voice - that familiar, "motherly" tone of voice...eerily inappropriate to the circumstances of the situation.
I walk out of my room. I walk down the hallway. I am barely self-aware; I walk to my dad's room. I see that the lights are turned off, and that he is "sleeping".
I return to my room. I find my mother, still sitting on my bed. About 10 minutes pass in silence. I hear some rumbling from the other room - my dad has "woken up".
She walks over to me. "Poor thing..." she says, and puts my head on her chest and hugs me.
Dad walks into my room. How fitting he is suddenly awake; he walks in holding a chess board. We usually play chess in the evenings.
We play. While we're playing, mom observes. Occasionally, she comments: "You're such a good boy. Crying after being hit...so cute."
I am no longer feeling. I am numb. Nothing. A ghost. Just like I was ten years ago. A ghost.
My mom leaves during the game. My dad and I finish up. He tells me something about visa issues. I acknowledge.
Some minutes pass. I float - I see things, I touch things, I hear things...but I feel nothing.
I want to sleep.
I walk over to my mom's room to wish her good night. I see her sobbing, with a bottle of Bacardi by her. She looks lost.
She turns to me, and says, "Please don't say anything bad about grandmother. She's someone who's struggled all of her life..."
*I do not remember this happening before, but apparently I did in 2010. It is unsettling to know there are more memories of a similar nature, buried deep within my psyche.
...I just wrote this out, and I really need some air. Maybe I shouldn't have, but...I needed to write this out. I'm slowly becoming "self-aware" again, somehow finding my way back into the present. I am sitting in the same room all of this happened, right now. I'll be having dinner with them in a few minutes. God, I wish I had someone right here by my side who I could talk to.
"Only the solitary seek the truth, and they break with all those who don't love it sufficiently." - Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago